They were once known to inhabit The Bahamas, but because of their clumsy, sluggish swimming ability and perceived “low intelligence,” manatees have vanished in this region.
Manatees seek fresh water, and are attracted to warm water. Sadly, Floridian manatees often find fresh water that happens to be factory run-off, draining into the Florida Basin and Bay. It has been theorized that manatee are possibly migrating to The Bahamas, caught in currents and storms, and finding pollution-free fresh water reserves in uninhabited, or low-density population areas. Where manatees are less likely to be caught in a boat collision, which in Florida is the number one threat to the species.
The next time I saw a manatee was in Key West. There was a hose that had been left running and this big round grey blob, covered in green moss was happily lolling about the surface, mouth open, as the hose poured down his gullet. In retrospect, I wish I had of spoken to someone about making sure freshwater hoses are always left off, because the little guy would have had a heck of a time getting out to sea amongst all the boats, jet-skis, catamarans, yachts, cruisers, etc. barricading him into the marina.
They are very special creatures, gentle and harmless. Looking in theirs eyes I saw much more intelligence twinkling than I had imagined. I hope that their numbers can come back and these peaceful creatures can find safe refuge.